Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons

Book Cover

Publisher: Boyle & Dalton

Date of publication: September 6th 2021

Genre: Coming of Age, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Told by a tart-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, Lies in Bone is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and the truths worth lying for.

On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.

Now, over twenty years later, Chuck’s teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this “busted and disgusted” town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in ’63, and Frank’s life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family’s dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny’s disappearance, Lies in Bone culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale.

First Line:

The fog snuck in over the wooded road, but Chuck didn’t care.

lies in bones by natalie symons

Lies in Bone is the story of Frank, her father Chuck, and Boots, her younger sister. Frank hasn’t had it easy growing up. Her mother left and never returned. Chuck compensated by becoming a drunk and indulging in get-rich-quick schemes. One day, Chuck decides to move everyone to his hometown to move in with his mother. Once there, Frank discovers that her father has a past, and it isn’t good. He is suspected of being involved in his younger brother’s disappearance 20 years earlier and the murder of another boy that same night. Frank brushes off the rumors as just that until another child is murdered and her father is arrested. Determined to prove her father’s innocence, Frank investigates. What she finds out will shatter her world. What does Frank find out? Is her father innocent?

I loved Frank. She was blunt, not afraid to tell people how she felt, and she was like a bulldog when she got an idea in her head. She also was very hurt over her mother’s abandonment. I connected to her on so many levels and was rooting for her the entire book. She wasn’t an easy character to like, but she acknowledged that.

The mystery angle of Lies in Bone was very well written. The author kept me guessing about what happened to Danny, the other little boy, and Bernie. She threw out red herrings left and right. I usually can figure out what happened pretty early in the book. But in this case, I was left guessing until the very end.

There are several significant twists in Lies in Bone. The first one did take me by surprise. There was no way that I would have even thought THAT happened. The second one, which was revealed relatively close to the end, was also just as shocking. I felt terrible for Frank when she found that out. And the third twist, well, that came out of the left field. It was revealed at the end of the book, and it turned everything on end.

I was not a huge fan of many of the secondary characters in Lies in Bone. The main subject of my dislike was Ruth, Frank’s grandmother. I couldn’t stand her. The way that she talked to Chuck was awful, and I didn’t blame Chuck for what he did.

The end of Lies in Bone was bittersweet. The author did a great job wrapping up the storylines and making a somewhat happy ending for Frank. But then the twist happened and poor Frank. She forever has to carry the burden of her family on her shoulders, and man, what she learned was catastrophic.

I would recommend Lies in Bone for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and sex but no sex.